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Bank of America Merrill Lynch M&A star goes it alone with corporate finance boutique

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A star investment banker at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who left the bank in July, has now started his own corporate finance boutique based in the Wiltshire town of Salisbury.

Peter Bell, the former head of UK M&A at BAML, has started Cardean Bell – a corporate finance boutique with just two employees, according to filings on Companies House.

Bell joined BAML in May 2011, after two years working as managing director at Nomura. His recruitment was considered something of a catch, thanks to Bell’s involvement in some high-profile deals like Doughty Hanson’s acquisition of Vue Cinemas and KKR’s purchase of Pets At Home. Bell’s most high profile deal arguably came during his time at BAML – he advised on the sale of football club Aston Villa’s sale to Chinese businessman Tony Xia. The deal took two years, and previous owner – U.S. billionaire Randy Lerner – sold after pouring millions into the club.

Bell was lured over to BAML after Christian Meissner, the former co-head of investment banking at Nomura, moved across to lead its corporate and investment banking division in 2010. Adrian Mee and Antonin Baladi also moved to BAML around the same time.

Bell declined to comment further on his new firm, but his move comes at a time when senior bankers are moving out of large firms to run their own companies.

Peter Bacchus, who was joint head of investment banking and global head of metals and mining at Jefferies, is also in the process of gaining regulatory approval for a new company called Bacchus Capital Advisors. Companies House suggests he’s based out of Somerset.

Sebastian Grigg, the former vice chairman of investment banking at Credit Suisse, set up his own advisory shop in September.

Brian Webber, a partner and managing director at Moelis & Co in Los Angeles, left to start his own private equity firm American Discovery Capital.

Contact: pclarke@efinancialcareers.

Photo: Getty Images

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